We are expected to complete the second senior signing of the Unai Emery era imminently, with Lucas Torreira set to join, as per reports in Uruguay.
The club had been linked to the Sampdoria midfielder in the past week and according to Embaiadores del Gol, Torreira’s agent, Pablo Bentacur is flying to Russia in a bid to complete the deal with Arsenal’s representatives.
Torreira has a £22m release clause at Sampdoria, which the club would have 60 days to pay up in full after the transfer is confirmed.
Torreira has been identified by Emery as the player to add steel to the Arsenal midfield and is expected to form a defensive midfield partnership with Granit Xhaka. Here is how the 5ft 5in diminutive player will look in the Arsenal kit once he completes his move.
Curiously, Torreira has at different times been likened to N’Golo Kante, Marco Verrati and Santi Cazorla, who most would regard as completely different players. If nothing else, that shows the wide array of qualities the Fray Bentos-born box-to-box bustler can bring.
He not only has great defensive awareness – averaging 2.8 tackles, 2 interceptions in 36 games for Sampdoria – but also completed 1817 accurate short passes, the third-most for central midfielders in Serie A.
Equally, only nine central midfielders had more shots from outside the box than his 29 and only Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is far more attacking, has scored more goals from outside the box than his four.
He is with the Uruguayan squad in Russia and we expect him to have a strong individual World Cup for the 2-time World champions: if he does, we’ll be glad to have got this deal done early.